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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Arianism \A"ri*an*ism\, n. The doctrines of the Arians.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1600, from Arian + -ism.


Arianism is a Christian belief that asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was created by God the Father at a point in time, is distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to the Father. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius ( c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. The teachings of Arius and his supporters were opposed to the prevailing theological views held by proto-orthodox Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist but was created by God the Father.

Homoousianism was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical Councils. All mainstream branches of Christianity therefore consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical. The Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325 deemed it to be a heresy. At the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335, Arius was exonerated. After his death, he was again anathemised and pronounced a heretic again at the Ecumenical First Council of Constantinople of 381. The Roman Emperors Constantius II (337–361) and Valens (364–378) were Arians or Semi-Arians, as was the first King of Italy, Odoacer (433?–493), and the Lombards till the 7th century.

Arianism is also used to refer to other nontrinitarian theological systems of the 4th century, which regarded Jesus Christ—the Son of God, the Logos—as either a created being (as in Arianism proper and Anomoeanism) or as neither uncreated nor created in the sense other beings are created (as in Semi-Arianism).

Usage examples of "arianism".

But when his pure and proper divinity had been established on the ruins of Arianism, the faith of the Catholics trembled on the edge of a precipice where it was impossible to recede, dangerous to stand, dreadful to fall and the manifold inconveniences of their creed were aggravated by the sublime character of their theology.

The opinions of Arianism might satisfy a cold and speculative mind: but the doctrine of the Nicene creed, most powerfully recommended by the merits of faith and devotion, was much better adapted to become popular and successful in a believing age.

It was not enough that Theodosius had suppressed the insolent reign of Arianism, or that he had abundantly revenged the injuries which the Catholics sustained from the zeal of Constantius and Valens.

The Vandals and the Ostrogoths persevered in the profession of Arianism till the final ruin of the kingdoms which they had founded in Africa and Italy.

Instead of condemning his memory, he piously supposed, that the dying monarch had abjured the errors of Arianism, and recommended to his son the conversion of the Gothic nation.

A difference of religion is always pernicious, and often fatal, to the harmony of the prince and people: the Gothic conqueror had been educated in the profession of Arianism, and Italy was devoutly attached to the Nicene faith.

From the age of Constantine to that of Clovis and Theodoric, the temporal interests both of the Romans and Barbarians were deeply involved in the theological disputes of Arianism.

Docetism, Nicolaism, Gnosticism, Chiliasm, Manichaism, Monatism, Monarchism, Monophysitism, Monotheletism, Arianism, Nestorianism--every one of these terms means both a theory and a drama.

The Church is reproached for being exactly what the heresy was repressed for being The explanations of the evolutionary historians and higher critics do really explain why Arianism and Gnosticism and Nestorianism were born--and also why they died.

Was Pelagianism a new form of Gnosticism, or was it merely Arianism in disguise?

Arianism of the German invaders of the Empire--Vandals, Suevi, Visigoths, Burgundians--Uprise of the power of Clovis--His conversion to Christianity--His wars with Gundobad, king of the Burgundians--With Alaric II, king of the Visigoths--Downfall of the monarchy of Toulouse--Usurpation of Gesalic--Theodoric governs Spain as guardian of his grandson Amalaric.

Arianism of the German invaders of the Empire--Vandals, Suevi, Visigoths, Burgundians--Uprise of the power of Clovis--His conversion to Christianity--His wars with Gundobad, king of the Burgundians--With Alaric II.

Rome has weathered more and worse, over the centuries— Arianism, Manichaeism, Maximianism, Rogatism, Circon-cillianism, Donatism, Catharism, Monophysitism, Baldarism, and at least a score more—this Yorkism, too, will burn itself out, die, eventually be stamped out.

We ask whether it is this evangelical meekness which has excited your interminable wars between your sects, your atrocious persecutions of pretended heretics, your crusades against Arianism, Manicheism, Protestantism, without speaking of your crusades against us, and of those sacrilegious associations, still subsisting, of men who take an oath to continue them?